Sustainable buildings: good for the environment, good for business

19 May 2017
Reduced operating costs and healthier, more comfortable spaces – these are the main conclusions of a major new survey into sustainable buildings in the Nordics.
'Solhuset', Denmark’s most climate-friendly nursery

'Solhuset', Denmark’s most climate-friendly nursery


Lars Ostenfeld Riemann

Executive Director, Buildings & Aviation Global Division Director
T: +45 5161 6897

By Andrew Somerville

With buildings being responsible for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the European Commission, the ‘Green Market Study’ was instigated by Ramboll to support continued innovation and insights into sustainable development in the construction sector. The survey canvassed nearly 400 Nordic real estate and construction experts.

According to the report, the issue of sustainability has slowly but surely taken its place at the core of business operations within the industry. Chief findings include:

  • 90% of respondents consider sustainability to be fundamental to successful business operations

  • Sustainable buildings have a median of 3-5% higher property and rental values, 5-10% lower operational costs, 3-5% lower vacancy rates – compared to ‘traditional’ buildings

  • ‘Emissions of hazardous chemicals from construction materials into indoor air’, ‘Daylight and lighting quality’, and ‘thermal comfort’ are the most significant contributors to building user health and productivity

According to Lars Riemann, Ramboll’s Executive Director for Buildings, the report underlines the fact that increasingly sustainability is not simply seen as an environmental consideration. “One of the most striking findings from the study is that sustainability measures in buildings not only make good sense for the environment, but also contribute to the well-being of building users,” he says. “This in turn increases a building’s commercial attractiveness and viability.”

Solhuset in Denmark leads the way in liveable buildings

Ramboll has extensive experience in developing sustainable solutions that cater to the findings in the Green Market Study, and has created a Liveable Buildings concept that looks beyond the physical aspects of a building to include social and cultural attributes. This means designing and constructing a building for the needs of its users - for example, ensuring attractive and healthy spaces, and encouraging users to interact with each other. This is particularly relevant in light of the European Commission’s estimate that Europeans spend 90% of their time indoors.

A good example of where Ramboll and Christensen & Co architects put the Liveable Buildings concept into practice is ‘Solhuset’, a day-care centre north of Copenhagen. Dubbed Denmark’s most climate-friendly nursery, ‘Solhuset’ features solar panels for heating and electricity, specially designed windows in the roof for ventilation and natural light, as well as vegetation on the roof surface that prevents water run-off and provides sound and temperature insulation. But equally as importantly, the building is designed and engineered to contribute actively to play, learning, health and well-being.

“Solhuset is a very special institution where you get an experience from being there. It's about using light and air in a new way,” said Morten Slotved, Mayor of Hørsholm Municipality, at the opening of Solhuset, “Not least for the children - who learn about the sun and the importance of daylight - and about using nature without placing a strain on it."


More information

> Read the full Green Market Study report here

> Liveable Buildings Concept



Green Market Study video - click to view

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
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Tel: +45 5161 1000
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